Penguins general manager Shero inclined to stand pat for trade deadline
Penguins general manager Ray Shero has made his mark with memorable moves at the NHL trade deadline during each of the past five seasons.
He might make his mark this season by doing nothing.
Shero shook his head Sunday afternoon when asked about the players available before Monday's 3 p.m. deadline.
"Right now," Shero said, "I'm not close to anything."
Nor is Shero in a position where he feels like a trade is necessary.
Shero has stated on countless occasions that he is pleased with his lineup and that he doesn't believe the current market boasts players who can augment his roster.
That could change before today's deadline, but Shero made it clear that no deals are imminent.
Shero's most interesting comments yesterday were regarding the health of center Sidney Crosby and his goaltending situation.
On Crosby, and the possibility that his contract figure could be manipulated via a long-term injured reserve loophole: "I hope he'll come back (this season). There is no guarantee. I'm hoping that happens. Right now, there's no one out there that makes any sense."
Crosby has not played since Dec. 5 and, when he most recently spoke with reporters, said he continues to suffer from occasional headaches.
Shero also said that he expects current backup goalie Brent Johnson to retain that role heading into the postseason, but he did not dismiss that possibility that goalie Brad Thiessen could continue playing at the NHL level.
"Brad Thiessen was the goalie of the year last year in the American Hockey League," Shero said. "The guy deserves an opportunity at some point."
Few trades have been executed during the past few days, and Shero said this is simply the reality of the NHL standings. As of last night, only four NHL teams were more than six points out of a possible playoff spot.
"There's a lot of teams that have good players," Shero said. "They don't want to trade them. They want to hold on to them. I don't blame them."
Past NHL trade deadlines have produced blockbusters and a heavy volume of deals. Shero acknowledged that the market could change before 3 p.m., but he isn't expecting anything major to occur.
"We'll see what the next day brings," he said. "We'll see what happens. You have to know beforehand what you may or may not do. I think there will be a number of role players that will change hands. It's a seller's market. There aren't as many people available as in the past."
The Penguins' fortunes seem irreversibly tied to Crosby's health.
Following a recent practice, forward Arron Asham wondered aloud if the Penguins might make a deal. When told it wasn't likely, he shrugged his shoulders.
"I know one guy who could help," said Asham, who was looking directly at Crosby's locker.
Crosby might be the only help the Penguins have on the way.
"I do like our team," Shero said.
Penguins beat reporter Josh Yohe looks at the significant deadline-period deals swung by GM Ray Shero:
RW Alex Kovalev from Ottawa for a seventh-round draft pick
Risk: Very little, given the lack of offensive prowess with two former NHL scoring champions out of the lineup.
Reward: Very little, because by Game 7 of Round 1 in the Stanley Cup playoffs coach Dan Bylsma had lost faith in Kovalev — though, Kovalev's shootout success helped the Penguins earn the No. 4 seed.
RW Alexei Ponikarovsky from Toronto for LW Luca Cuputi and D Martin Skoula
Risk: Not much. Caputi has not turned into anything resembling a productive NHL player.
Reward: Next to nothing. Ponikarovsky was invisible during the postseason, scoring only one goal and earning a spot in Bylsma's doghouse.
RW Bill Guerin from New York Islanders for a conditional (third round) draft pick
Risk: Very little. The Penguins were interested in the present, not the future.
Reward: Guerin was the man Crosby handed the Stanley Cup to in Detroit. Nothing else better illustrates how Guerin helped a young team mature and become a champion.
RW Marian Hossa and RW Pascal Dupuis from Atlanta for RW Colby Armstrong, C Erik Christensen, prospect Angelo Esposito and 2008 first round pick
Risk: Significant. Armstrong was a beloved role player, Christensen a shootout master and Esposito a former first round pick.
Reward: Huge. Hossa helped the Penguins to their first Stanley Cup Final in 16 years, while Dupuis remains an important role player.
D Hal Gill from Toronto for second- and fifth-round draft picks
Risk: Somewhat high. Teams don't like giving up too many draft picks, and the Penguins' 2008 draft was thin.
Reward: Large — literally. The 6-foot-7 Gill gave the Penguins a terrific defensive defenseman for two seasons.
LW Gary Roberts from Florida for D Noah Welch
Risk: Substantial. Welch was considered a strong prospect but never really panned out in the NHL.
Reward: Noteworthy. Roberts' toughness turned him into a folk hero, though injuries limited his productivity.